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Decisions
Maysmor and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-048 (21 July 2021)
2021-048

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about multiple images of needles and vaccinations being performed shown in two Newshub Live at 6pm items reporting on COVID-19. The Authority found the images were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence. There is a high public interest and value in news reporting about the vaccination programme. In the context of a news item, the images would not adversely affect child viewers. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Good taste and decency, Children’s interests, Balance

Decisions
Wilson and Discovery NZ - 2021-026 (21 July 2021)
2021-026

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a news item about sex workers and escorts opening up about their work on social media breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and programme information standards. The Authority noted the public interest in the broadcast and considered the content was within audience expectations for the news. In this context, the Authority found the item was unlikely to cause widespread offence or undermine community standards. The Authority also found the introduction to the item was sufficient to inform viewers of the nature of the coverage, enabling them to adequately protect themselves and their children from the content by choosing not to watch.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Programme Information

Decisions
TC and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-047 (29 June 2021)
2021-047

The Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about an episode of David Lomas Investigates, which covered the story of a woman who as a baby was found on the footpath wrapped in newspaper. In two segments, Mr Lomas visited the address at which the baby was reportedly found, and during the course of the programme disclosed the street, suburb and city. Two letterbox numbers at the bottom of an entrance path and steps were also shown ‘at the next property’, as an example of what the address may have looked like when the baby was found (before construction of the new building on the property). The complainant argued this breached her privacy as the programme disclosed her full address and filmed her property without notifying her or asking for permission. The Authority found the privacy standard did not apply, as the right to privacy attaches to identifiable individuals rather than to property, and the complainant was not identifiable in the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Privacy  

Decisions
Kirke and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-020 (29 June 2021)
2021-020

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a remark ‘there will probably be some racists tuning in’ in reference to the English greeting following ‘kia ora koutou katoa’ during a comedy skit shown on The AM Show. The complainant alleged this was ‘racist’ and the broadcaster should apologise to ‘all English-speaking people’. The Authority found ‘English-speaking people’ are not a section of society to whom the standard applies. In any event, the comment was not directed specifically at English speakers, it was satirical and it would not have met the threshold required for a breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
WL and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-167 (29 June 2021)
2020-167

The Authority upheld a privacy complaint about a Newshub item showing footage of children being uplifted from their homes by Oranga Tamariki. The Authority considered there was adequate information in the clip to enable identification of the children. While the story carried high public interest, protecting children’s privacy interests, particularly where the children are clearly vulnerable, must be paramount in broadcasters’ editorial decision making. Insufficient steps were taken to protect the children’s identities, and given the highly sensitive and distressing circumstances, the Authority considered the disclosure of footage enabling their identification was highly offensive.

Upheld: Privacy

Orders: Section 16(4) – $1500 costs to the Crown

Decisions
Hall and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-159 (22 June 2021)
2020-159

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on The Project, which discussed the financing of the Government’s $50 billion COVID-19 rescue and recovery budget. It suggested New Zealanders are borrowing this money from the Central Bank in the form of payment for Government bonds. The complainant argued this was inaccurate because New Zealanders are borrowing the money from private institutions. He also complained the broadcast confused direct monetary financing with quantitative easing by suggesting the Reserve Bank was buying bonds directly from the Government (rather than from private institutions). The Authority found the broadcast was materially accurate overall and unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
O’Brien and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-006 (22 June 2021)
2021-006

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm, covering the reactions of world leaders to the Capitol Hill riots in Washington DC, that referred to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani as ‘Iran’s dictator’. The Authority found the description was not a material fact in the context of the item, and in any case the caption describing Mr Rouhani as ‘President of Iran’ reduced any risk of viewers being misled.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Egan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-002 (2 June 2021)
2021-002

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on Newshub Nation, featuring electrical engineer and Pike River Mine researcher, Richard Healey. Mr Healey commented on his claims of ‘new crucial evidence’ the miners could have survived the explosions and of the existence of a pipeline which could be used to recover more evidence. The complaint alleged Mr Healey’s claims were speculative and unsupported by evidence, were not challenged by the host and caused emotional harm to the victims’ families. The Authority acknowledged the sensitivity of the matters discussed, which also carried a high degree of public interest. It found the broadcast clearly presented Mr Healey’s claims as one theory and from a particular perspective. The wide range of information and coverage available over a long period of time since the original events reduced any risk of viewers being misled or significantly misinformed. The Authority also found, in the context, the interview did not undermine community standards of taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-004 (25 May 2021)
2021-004

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a promo for Taranaki Hard. The Authority found the item was within audience expectations for a promo shown during an unclassified news programme. It did not actively promote or glamorise illegal behaviour nor was it likely to cause widespread undue offence or cause harm to children watching.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-005 (25 May 2021)
2021-005

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a Newshub item describing a storm in Australia as a ‘one in 100 year storm’. The statement was a technical point unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-165 (25 May 2021)
2020-165

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘pissed off’ in the opening to a news item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The phrase was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or cause specific harm to a child audience.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-166 (25 May 2021)
2020-166

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a news item reporting on the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ likelihood of not returning to Parliament after the General Election. The item did not discuss a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply. It was not unfair to Mr Peters, given his position as an elected public figure and experience dealing with the media. Coverage of political issues close to Election Day is not in itself a breach of broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Wilton and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-001 (25 May 2021)
2021-001

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the phrase ‘thank fucking Christ’ in an interview segment during the Aotearoa Music Awards breached the good taste and decency standard. In the context, particularly noting the timing of the broadcast, pre-broadcast warnings and public interest in the relevant segment, the Authority considered the programme unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or distress, or to undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Poll and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-175 (28 April 2021)
2020-175

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that language used in Million Dollar Listing LA breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The programme was rated G and broadcast at 2.20pm on a Sunday. In the context, and given most of the words were censored and did not appear until the final five minutes of the 55-minute programme, overall it was unlikely to likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards. It was also unlikely to alarm or distress any children who were watching. The audible words did not go beyond what viewers would reasonably expect from the programme.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
Julian and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-152 (20 April 2021)
2020-152

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item summarising latest election poll results on Newshub breached the accuracy standard. The standard applies only to statements of fact, and the statements in question were clearly distinguishable as news analysis.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Wilding and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-161 (20 April 2021)
2020-161

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a comment by Mark Richardson on The Project regarding the Green Party and its responsibility for the protection of native trees. The statement was an opinion not subject to the accuracy standard, and was not unfair to the Green Party. The programme information standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Programme Information

Decisions
Wright and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-143 (20 April 2021)
2020-143

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Newshub Nation item reporting poll results on support for Auckland Central constituency candidates was misleading, as it excluded undecided voters. The Authority found the results were not inaccurate or misleading in the context of the whole item. There was lengthy discussion that followed concerning the poll results and the views of each of the candidates, and at the end of the item, the reporter advised more than 20% of voters still had not decided which candidate to support. Overall, the Authority did not find actual or potential harm that justified regulatory intervention or limiting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Vorwerk and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-158 (31 March 2021)
2020-158

The Authority declined to determine a complaint about the use of te reo Māori on Newshub Live at 6pm. Te reo Māori is an official New Zealand language. Its use is a matter of editorial discretion appropriately determined by broadcasters. The Authority declined to determine the complaint because the use of te reo Māori does not raise any issue of broadcasting standards.

Declined to Determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Balance

Decisions
Allison and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-142 (16 March 2021)
2020-124

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that use of the term ‘wanker’ was inappropriate and offensive in breach of the good taste and decency standard. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Hoare and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-136 (9 March 2021)
2020-136

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm, in which Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall fund was described as ‘essentially his private slush fund’. The complaint was that this description was inaccurate and suggested illegal practices. In the context, given the public’s general understanding of ‘slush fund’, and the discretionary nature of the Duchy of Cornwall fund, the Authority found the use of the term was not inaccurate or misleading. The Authority also found this term did not undermine widely held community standards, and the balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Balance

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